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2. Support Payments for Farmers

SINGLE PAYMENT SCHEME

The Single Payment Scheme was introduced in Ireland on 1 January 2005.

ELIGIBILITY

In general, the Single Payment Scheme is applicable to farmers who actively farmed during the reference years 2000, 2001 and 2002, who were paid Livestock Premia and/or Arable Aid in one or more of those years and who continued to farm in 2005.

The gross Single Payment is based on the average number of animals and/or the average number of hectares (in the case of Arable Aid) on which payments were made in the three reference years.

SINGLE PAYMENT SCHEME 2010

The closing date for receipt of applications under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme was 17 May 2010.

PROTEIN CROP PREMIUM

A supplementary premium payment of €55.57 per hectare will be made to applicants who declare proteins on their Single Payment Application form.

SINGLE PAYMENT APPLICATION

Submission of a Single Payment application is a requirement from farmers applying in 2010 for any of the following schemes:

  • Disadvantaged Areas Compensatory Allowance Scheme;
  • Single Payment Scheme;
  • Grassland Sheep Scheme;
  • Burren Life - Farming for conservation in the Burren - Scheme;
  • Dairy Efficiency Programme;
  • Bio-Energy Establishment Scheme;
  • Protein Crops Scheme;
  • Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS);
  • Agri-Environment options Scheme (AEOS);
  • Organic Farming Scheme;
  • Natura 2000 Scheme;
  • Scheme of Investment Aid For The Improvement of Dairy Hygiene Standards;
  • Scheme of Investment Aid In Alternative Enterprises;
  • Dried Fodder Scheme;
  • Animal Welfare, Recording and Breeding Scheme for Suckler Cows.

THE NATIONAL RESERVE

EU Regulations governing the Single payment scheme provide that Member States may allocate entitlements from the National Reserve under certain circumstances. The Reserve is replenished each year by the value of unused entitlements. There are two categories in the 2010 National Reserve. This decision was made following consultation with the Single Payment Advisory Committee comprising representatives of the farming organisations, Teagasc and officials from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Category A - Farmers who Inherit Land
A farmer under Category A is a farmer who inherits, or acquires free of charge by deed of transfer from an Early Retirement Scheme (ERS) participant farmer who retired or died before 16th May 2005, a holding that was leased out to a third party during the 2000 - 2002 reference period. Income criteria must also be fulfilled.

Category B - New Entrants to Farming
A farmer under Category B is a farmer who commenced farming after 15 May 2008, who has not pursued any agricultural activity at his/her own risk for a period of five years prior to this commencement date and who fulfils certain income and educational criteria. In addition an applicant may only qualify once under the New Entrant category of the National Reserve i.e. an applicant who previously qualified under New Entrant category of the 2008 or 2009 National Reserve may not qualify again in 2010

EU Regulations governing the National Reserve provide that entitlements allocated must be in accordance with objective criteria and in such a way as to ensure equal treatment between farmers and to avoid market and competition distortions. The value of entitlements allocated to successful applicants will be the average value of entitlements in the District Electoral Division (DED) associated with the applicant's herdnumber. The total allocation will represent the sum of the eligible hectares declared multiplied by the DED average value of entitlements or €5,000 whichever is the lesser. Where the cap of €5,000 is applied, it will be divided by the DED average value of entitlements and allocated on the resulting number of eligible hectares. In other words it will not be spread over all of the eligible hectares declared by the applicant but will give the applicant a lesser number of entitlements at a higher value per entitlement. An applicant may only benefit under either Category A or B whichever is the most financially beneficial.

Where the sum of allocations to eligible applicants exceeds the amount available in the 2010 National Reserve, an appropriate linear reduction will have to be applied to all allocations.

Applications forms for the 2010 National Reserve are available on the Department's website www.agriculture.gov.ie, from Department offices and from Teagasc offices. The closing date for receipt of completed applications was 17th May 2010. Details of the 2011 National Reserve will be announced in due course and details will be available on the Department's website at www.agriculture.gov.ie as well as from Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Local Offices (for details of local Offices see Appendix 1B) and Teagasc offices.

TRADING /TRANSFER OF SINGLE PAYMENT ENTITLEMENTS

Single Payment entitlements may be sold with or without land but can only be leased if accompanied by an equivalent number of hectares of eligible land. Application to transfer entitlements must be completed where sale/gift/lease of entitlements is involved, where a holding is being transferred via gift or inheritance or where the registration details of the holding are changed as a result of the following:

  • Merger of two or more holdings and entitlements;
  • Division of a holding and entitlements;
  • Change of legal entity;
  • Formation or division of a partnership etc;
  • Addition/Removal of a person on a herdnumber (Admin Transfer).

Farmers who change the registration details of their holding must update the registration details of their entitlements prior to submission of their Single Payment Application Form in order to receive Single Payment.

The closing date for receipt of completed application forms to transfer single payment entitlements for 2010 was 17 May 2010. Application forms for the 2011 Scheme are available on the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food website at www.agriculture.gov.ie and the closing date for the receipt of completed applications is 16 May 2011.

INHERITANCE ENQUIRY UNIT

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food provides assistance to the representatives of deceased farmers to secure outstanding payments to the estate of the deceased and where applicable, to arrange for the transfer of Single Payment entitlements. The Inheritance Enquiry Unit operates within the Single Payment Section of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in Portlaoise.

The Inheritance Enquiry Unit will assist the legal representatives of the deceased to:

  • Identify those schemes in which the deceased person participated and establish whether there are any outstanding payments due to the estate of the deceased;
  • Assist the legal representatives in contacting various sections of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food;
  • Advise on what legal documents are required;
  • Make arrangements for the issue of any outstanding payments due to estate of the deceased and for the transfer of Single payment entitlements (if any).

The Unit will act as a single repository for legal documentation submitted by representatives of the deceased thus removing the necessity for forwarding duplicate copies to several sections within the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

An information leaflet outlining the functions of the Inheritance Enquiry Unit is available on the Department's website www.agriculture.gov.ie and from Local Offices of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. (see Appendix 1B)

Further information may be obtained from the Inheritance Enquiry Unit, Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food, Eircom building, Knockmay Road, Portlaoise Tel 1890 200 560 email: inheritance@agriculture.gov.ie

CONSOLIDATION OF ENTITLEMENTS

In order the fully utilise their entitlements, farmers who declare a number of hectares for the purposes of the Single Payment Scheme, which are less than the number of entitlements that they have been allocated, may apply to consolidate those entitlements under certain circumstances. Farmers who satisfy the following conditions may be eligible to apply to have their entitlements consolidated:

  • The number of hectares declared on the Single Payment Scheme application form must be less than the number of entitlements allocated to the applicant;
  • The number of hectares declared by the applicant on the Single Payment Scheme application form must be at least 50% of the number of entitlements originally allocated to the applicant;
  • The reduction in the number of hectares declared on the application form must have arisen because of one or more of the following circumstances: Expired lease and/or expired rental agreement; Land acquired by a local authority for the purposes of a Compulsory Purchase Order.

Farmers are entitled to apply for Consolidation in more than one year provided all the conditions are met.

MODULATION

Modulation is a process whereby each farmer's Single Payment is reduced by a set percentage (first €5,000 exempt, 8% between €5,001 and €300,000 and 12% over €300,000). Up to 80% of funds generated through modulation can be retained in Ireland for spending on certain Rural Development measures. The main Rural Development measures currently administered by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food are the Disadvantaged Areas' Compensatory Allowance Scheme, the Scheme of Early Retirement from Farming and the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS).

CROSS COMPLIANCE

Cross compliance involves two key elements:

  • A requirement for farmers to comply with a number of statutory management requirements (SMRs) set down in EU legislation on the environment, food safety, animal health, welfare, and plant health; and
  • A requirement to maintain the farm in good agricultural and environmental condition (GAEC). In addition there will be an obligation on the Member State to ensure that there is no significant reduction in the amount of land under permanent pasture by reference to the total area under permanent pasture in 2003.

The Cross Compliance obligations have been phased in over a three-year period. Eight cross-compliance SMRs were introduced in 2005 together with the Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition requirements for Ireland. A further 7 SMRs were introduced with effect from 1 January 2006 with the final three introduced with effect from 1 January 2007. From 1 January 2007 Cross Compliance has been extended to a number of other scheme areas including the Disadvantaged Areas Compensatory Allowance Scheme and REPS.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food published an information booklet entitled "The Single Payment Scheme - Guide to Cross Compliance" which was issued to each producer in April 2005. This booklet sets out the Standards and Requirements that farmers had to meet in respect of the first eight SMRs from 1 January 2005. The detail of how farmers should respect Good Agricultural and Environment Condition was also set out.

A further information booklet entitled "The Single Payment Scheme - Guide to Cross Compliance Requirements to be implemented in 2006 and 2007" was issued in August 2007. This booklet set out the important features of the SMRs for Cross Compliance to be implemented on 1st January 2006 and 1st January 2007.

In August 2007 a leaflet was issued to all farmers outlining what to expect should they be selected for inspection under the Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Compensatory Allowance Scheme.

Copies of these three publications can be accessed on the Department's website under the heading "Cross Compliance". Enquiries in relation to Cross Compliance can also be sent to the dedicated email address cross.compliance@agriculture.gov.ie

Further information regarding the Single Payment Scheme may be obtained from the Single Payment Unit, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Government Offices, Old Abbeyleix Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois. Lo Call: 1890 200 566

NITRATES DEROGATION

Under the Nitrates Regulations (S.I. No. 101 of 2009) farmers must not apply more than 170kgs of nitrogen from livestock manure per hectare per year. However, grassland farmers, with grazing livestock, may apply annually for a derogation to apply up to a limit of 250kg per hectare in a calendar year, under certain conditions. Farmers doing so will need to have a Fertiliser Plan on their holding by 1 March each year and will have to (keep) submit Fertiliser Accounts to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food by 1 March each year.  

An application for a derogation and a valid derogation plan had to be submitted to the Department by 31 March 2010 and annually each year thereafter.

Farmers are reminded that compliance with the Nitrates Regulation (Directive) is one of the Statutory Management Requirements under the Single Payment Scheme, and anyone applying (operating) above the 170kg/hectare limit who has not applied for a derogation in the year in question is putting his or her Single Payment at risk. 

For further information on the Nitrates Derogation, you can contact Environment Section, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Johnstown Castle Estate, Wexford. Tel: 053 9163444. Email:  nitrates@agriculture.gov.ie .  

AREA BASED DISADVANTAGED AREAS SCHEME

Payment is based on eligible forage areas which are designated as More Severely Handicapped (lowland), Less Severely Handicapped (lowland) and Coastal Areas with Specific Handicaps or Mountain Type Grazing. The lands must be used for grazing of cattle, sheep, equine, goats or deer.

Application for the Disadvantaged Areas Compensatory Allowance Scheme must be made on the Single Payment application form.

This Scheme is co-funded by the European Union.

ELIGIBILITY

To qualify, an applicant must:

  • Be a person aged 18 years or over;
  • Hold a valid herd number issued by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food;
  • Occupy and farm in your own right a minimum of 3 hectares of forage land, situated in an area within the state designated as a Disadvantaged Area by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and classified as Less Severely Handicapped Lowland or as a Coastal Area with specific Handicaps or as a More Severely Handicapped Lowland or as Mountain Type Grazing;
  • Undertake to farm and manage the land applied on in 2010, for the full calendar year;
  • Undertake to remain in farming in a Disadvantaged Area for 5 years from the date of first payment of a Disadvantages Areas Scheme payment;
  • Comply with Cross Compliance as set down in EU legislation (Directives and Regulations) on the environment, food safety, animals health and welfare, and plant health and must maintain the farm in good agricultural and environmental condition (GAEC);
  • Have a holding with a minimum stocking level of 0.15 livestock units per forage hectare for the entire area declared;
  • In relation to any mountain commonage that you farm, be a participant under REPS or any National Scheme that may be in place or be compliant with the relevant Commonage Framework Plan;
  • Co-operate with Department staff, or its' Agents, in relation to any inspection or any request for documentation;
  • No payment shall be made in favour of beneficiaries for whom it is established that they artificially created the conditions required for obtaining such payments with a view to obtaining an advantaged contrary to the objectives of that support scheme.

LIVESTOCK UNITS (LUs)

  • Bovines over 2 years of age = 1 LU each;
  • Bovines 2 years old and under = 0.6 LU each;
  • Equines 6 months and under, registered in the applicant's name = 0.6 LU each;
  • Equines over 6 months, registered in the applicant's name = 1.0 LU each;
  • Female or Male Deer = 0.3 LU each;
  • Female or Male Sheep = 0.15 LU each;
  • Female or Male Goats = 0.15 LU each.

The livestock required to establish the minimum stocking density must be possessed, held and maintained by the applicant on his/her holding for a continuous period of 3 months.

AID AVAILABLE

The scheme provides for payment as follows:

  • Mountain type land
    Standard Rate of €109.71 on first 10 hectares or part thereof and €95.99 per hectare on remaining hectares subject to an overall payment ceiling of 34 hectares;
  • More Severely Handicapped (lowland)
    Standard Rate of €95.99 per hectare on up to 34 hectares;
  • Less Severely Handicapped (lowland) and Areas with Specific Handicaps (Coastal Areas)
    Standard Rate of €82.27 per hectare on up to 34 hectares;

Where a farmer farms a combination of the above lands s/he will be paid Disadvantaged Areas payment within the overall payment ceiling of 34 hectares on Mountain Type Grazings firstly, Lowland (More Severely Handicapped) secondly, and Lowland (Less Severely Handicapped) and Areas with Specific Handicaps (Coastal Areas) lastly.

The entire holding will be treated as one for the purposes of payment under the 2010 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme.

Further information regarding the Disadvantaged Areas Compensatory Allowance Scheme may be obtained from Disadvantaged Areas Section, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Old Abbeyleix Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois. Lo-call: 1890 200 114

Help-Lines for Area Based and Other Related Issues arising from Single Payment Application:

Lo-call 1890 252 242: Longford, and Wicklow.

Lo-call 1890 252 243: Carlow, Kilkenny, Louth, Monaghan, and Sligo.

Lo-call 1890 252 244: Donegal, Dublin, Offaly and Wexford.            

Lo-call 1890 252 235: Clare, Kildare, Limerick and Roscommon.

Lo-call 1890 252 236: Cork, Waterford and Westmeath.

Lo-call 1890 200 502: Galway, Kerry, Mayo and Meath.

Lo-call 1890 252 598: Cavan, Leitrim, Louth and Tipperary, Dairy Premium and Sugar Beet Compensation.